Congratulations to Leg One's Workhorse of the Week winners, Ryan Hollingshead and Zach Loyd, both able contributors to a tough loss at Seattle.
But back to the present day:
No doubt, this was the longest week of waiting I have ever experienced as an FC Dallas fan. And the longer the week seemed to stretch on, the more I felt some creeping doubt. In the match predictions, I was the sole pessimist, but thank goodness, I was wrong. Beautifully, wonderfully wrong.
For about two minutes, I was right though. Tesho came on and looked like a reborn player, dominating Seattle with a great header and burst of energy and confidence. Then, Chad Marshall escaped Hedges and Gonzalez whiffed a bit, and the equalizer goal to send Seattle through was there. I wrote, in the live thread, "this is the story of FC Dallas."
But then Walker, the best name for any professional sports player in Texas, delivered via a beautiful little assist from Blas Perez. It was unreal.
And he delivered again with a confident, gutsy PK that sealed it for FC Dallas behind superb play from our young goalkeeper, Jesse Gonzalez.
This game was a team effort. Mauro Diaz was stunning. Michael Barrios and Fabian Castillo wrecked havoc, and both are unlucky not to have gotten a goal. The defense worked hard and picked their moments to get forward. This was one of the better performances by FC Dallas in a tense, tight game.
If you are looking for downsides, it might be that David Texeira, while not having a bad game, didn't give us enough, and Blas Perez, despite the assist, also missed some potential chances that he would have put into the back of the net even a year ago. Fabian also visibly got frustrated as juicy chance after chance went begging. The team continues to lose focus at key times late. So, yeah, there are things to work on, but the scary part is - this team has not reached its ceiling yet.
The best is yet to come.
Let's look forward to the Western Conference finals against Portland, which should be a competitive, fun series to watch.
Cast your vote for this leg's Workhorse of the Week below.
This Week's Strong Recommendations
Wow. From injury to 120+ minutes of solid, dependable, active attacking and defending, this kid is unreal. Think about this - Pareja brought off Ulloa rather than Acosta, even though Acosta was the unknown with his injury status. It's absolutely amazing. Vote for this guy.
Two saved PKs? A few other great saves? Gutsy play? Hell, yeah.
He won't get any stats on the sheet, but he looked more dangerous than Fabian Castillo. What a great game from him - let's just get some players to back him up and get into the box to put away those chances.
Fierce, unrelenting leadership. Hedges fought for this team. Martins and Dempsey were quiet - why? Mathew James "Matt" Hedges.